"I’m not all banged up and beaten down. I still feel good."
Future NFL Hall of Famer Julius Peppers announced his retirement today, after 17 seasons of tormenting quarterbacks across the league.
Peppers, 39, revealed his decision in a Player's Tribune article titled "17 and Out."
"Seventeen years is a long time to be playing this game. It’s two careers for a lot of people. I’m thankful that I have been able to play so long and still be healthy. I’m not all banged up and beaten down. I still feel good.
But as much as I would love to play forever, I know that I can’t. It’s gotta end at some point.
That point is now.
Today, I’m retiring."
Selected second overall by the Carolina Panthers in the 2002 NFL Draft, Peppers spent his first eight seasons with the team, as well as his last two. Over the course of his career, which also included stops in Chicago and Green Bay, Peppers tallied 159.5 career sacks which trails only Kevin Greene (160), Bruce Smith (198) and Reggie White (200) on the NFL's all-time list.
According to ESPN, Peppers' 266 games played out of a possible 272 are the sixth most by a defensive player in NFL history.